Tuesday, March 07, 2006



I wonder how many members of Congress have read Upton Sinclair's classic 1906 book, THE JUNGLE. Every year THE WASHINGTONIAN has all the congressional staffers rate the members based on all kinds of attributes. It's generally acknowledged that the brainiest guys in the House are Barney Frank (D-MA) and retiring right-wing loon Bill Thomas (R-CA) and that the most egregiously stupid member is Katherine Harris (replacing imprisoned Republican bribe taker Randy "Duke" Cunningham). Even though Thomas taught at a community college before he began his long career legislatively undermining Americans' lives and even though he lived a short distance from Sinclair's home in Monrovia, CA, I'd bet that it was only Barney who's read this book, and certainly only Barney who understood it.

THE JUNGLE was a turning point in American history. By pointing out the disgusting and unsanitary conditions in the meatpacking industry-- as well as the unsafe and nightmarish conditions of the men and women working in the industry-- Sinclair's book began a groundswell of public opinion which led to the federal government setting standards in the workplace and standards for the safety and health of the food we eat. Corporatists, Republicans and, of course, the lobbyists representing the former and bribing the latter, have always fought this very concept-- of the government protecting consumers (let alone workers)-- as though their lives, or at least their wealth and privileges, depended on it.

The Republicans and the wealthy and powerful interests who finance them have never ceased trying to undermine laws that protect the consumer from the greed and irresponsibility of unaccountable "corporate citizens." And, predictably, in the age of the worst president in the history of our country, the Republicans are pushing it again. Today the Associated Press is reporting that not only are Republican congressman seeking to curtail food warning labels but that the lobbyists pushing the attempt have very close ties to them personally-- ties even stronger than the millions of dollars in bribes paid out by the Jack Abramoffs, Brent Wilkes and Mitchell Wades to Republican congressman since Bush-DeLay weak, weak ethics have become Washington's new morality.

According to the article, "House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and several other lawmakers support a bill that would keep states from adding warnings that go beyond federal rules." And, lo and behold! these are the very Republicrooks whose family members, close friends and former staff are the industry lobbyists for the bill.

Blunt and Boehner, two of the most corrupt congressmen in Washington, each an integral part of the notorious K Street Project, are seeking to ban states' warnings to consumers against mercury in fish, arsenic in bottled water, pesticides in vegetables and many other potential problems.

Among the lobbyists pushing this you find Abigail Blunt (wife of... not Boehner), who is the bagman for Atria/Kraft Foods. But even though Boehner's wife isn't in on this public betrayal and cash bonanza, Boehner has two loyal former staffers, Mason Wiggins (for the Food Products Association) and Brenda Reese (for American Beverage Association) in on the shady deal. Another low-down dirty lobbyist in on this scandal is Brad Card, brother of White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and former top aide to Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY)

Ben Cohen, the lawyer for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, speculates that "This helps explain why the food industry has blocked any efforts to have hearings. They think they've got it greased by using well-connected lobbyists to slip this thing through the full House without following the normal procedures."

"It's a perfect storm of insider access, big money and bad policy," said Andy Igrejas of the Washington-based National Environmental Trust. They're sweeping away 200 state laws without a hearing, all because very wealthy interests want them to."

The A.P. story reports that "The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent the bill to the floor without a hearing. The bill has broad support and is expected to win House approval later in the week. Supporters expect a Senate version of the bill to be introduced soon."

Blunts wife says she doesn't contact any members of the House, only Senators.


71 House Democrats joined the Republicans to stab consumers in the back and serve the Corporate Food Industry lobbyists who were desperately pushing this disgraceful bill. I was happy to see that only 2 California Democrats are on the list of sell-out stooges. Needless to say corporate ass-kisser
Rahm Emanuel voted for his lobbyist buddies-- as did DINOS like Henry Cuellar, Jim Marshall, Jim Matheson and Melissa Bean. Here's the whole disgraceful list of congressmen who expect campaign contributions from Democrats but still put the interests of Big Business first, even when those interests are harmful to citizens:

Barrow (D-GA)
Bean (D-IL)
Berry (D-AR)
Bishop (D-GA)
Boren (D-OK)
Boswell (D-IA)
Boucher (D-VA)
Boyd (D-FL)
Butterfield (D-NC)
Cardoza (D-CA)
Chandler (D-KY)
Clay (D-MO)
Cleaver (D-MO)
Costello (D-IL)
Cramer (D-AL)
Crowley (D-NY)
Cuellar (D-TX)
Davis (D-AL)
Davis (D-IL)
Davis (D-TN)
Delahunt (D-MA)
Doyle (D-PA)
Edwards (D-TX)
Emanuel (D-IL)
Etheridge (D-NC)
Gordon (D-TN)
Green, Al (D-TX)
Herseth (D-SD)
Higgins (D-NY)
Hinojosa (D-TX)
Holden (D-PA)
Hooley (D-OR)
Israel (D-NY)
Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
Jefferson (D-LA)
Johnson, E. B. (D-TX)
Jones (OH) (D-OH)
Kanjorski (D-PA)
Larsen (D-WA)
Lipinski (D-IL)
Marshall (D-GA)
Matheson (D-UT)
McIntyre (D-NC)
Meek (D-FL)
Meeks (D-NY)
Melancon (D-LA)
Michaud (D-ME)
Millender-McDonald (D-CA)
Miller (D-NC)
Moore (D-KS)
Moran (D-VA)
Murtha (D-PA)
Ortiz (D-TX)
Peterson (D-MN)
Price (D-NC)
Reyes (D-TX)
Ross (D-AR)
Ruppersberger (D-MD)
Rush (D-IL)
Ryan (D-OH)
Scott (D-GA)
Skelton (D-MO)
Spratt (D-SC)
Strickland (D-OH)
Tanner (D-TN)
Taylor (D-MS)
Thompson (D-MS)
Towns (D-NY)
Velázquez (D-NY)
Watt (D-NC)
Wynn (D-MD)


At 9:21 AM, Blogger keninny said...

Thank goodness we're no longer hearing talk about "reforming" the lobbying mess in Congress. That might have put an ever-so-slight crimp in the style of Republican misgovernment.


At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Michael J. Smith said...

It ain't just the Republicans. The bill has 227 cosponsors [!} and many of them are Democrats, including such fragrant specimens as Rahm Emanuel. I wrote about this
at more length on my blog, stopmebeforeivoteagain.org.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger keninny said...

Point taken. Thanks.


At 5:01 AM, Blogger Federalist said...

Its people like you the creator of this blog site who hold the belief that one party is superior to another and vote within one party that create the very corruption that you speak and blog. Proactive responsible citizens want to avoid corruption in our government and should vote for the individual not the party.


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